A few months ago I set out to write a scouting report for Shaedon Sharpe. After many set backs and distractions that time has finally come. I know Sharpe has already been drafted, but he is still just as much of a mystery as he was coming into the draft.
I’m sure by this point everyone is pretty familiar with Sharpe. For those that don’t know, Sharpe is a 6’6 SG from Kentucky (well kind of). Sharpe was originally supposed to be in the 2023 draft, but he reclassified and enrolled at Kentucky a semester early. This was following a breakout year that saw him skyrocket from an unknown high schooler to the #1 player in his class. Despite being eligible to play, Sharpe never suited up for the Wildcats. Many believed this was because Sharpe would be coming back to UK to play a full collegiate season. This was not the case though as Sharpe entered the 2022 NBA draft and was selected 7th by the Portland Trailblazers.
Despite being drafted so high, little is known by the public about Sharpe’s game. From the handful of games I have seen I project Sharpe to be an electric scoring threat from all 3 levels. He has the ability to create for himself both on and off the ball and is a capable playmaker. Sharpe should be able to use his athleticism to become a capable defender.
Through the rest of this scouting report I will talk about Sharpe’s game in depth. I’ll cover what skills we can expect to translate as well as what are some things we can and can’t expect him to develop.
The first thing you can for sure bank on with Sharpe is his athleticism. No matter what you know he’s going to be a bouncy athlete who also has great straight line speed. He doesn’t have great lateral quickness, but he’s far from being slow. His speed and bounce are enough to keep him in the league even if the rest of his game doesn’t develop as expected.
Sharpe has a pretty looking jumper and shoot immediately be a catch and shoot threat in the league. There will probably be a slight “learning curve” due to the distance of the NBA 3 as well as because of the amount of length closing out on his shots. Sharpe should still be an above average shooter as a rookie. He has spent most of his career playing off ball, so he will be a more than capable floor spacer.
This is a skill that Sharpe already has to some extent, but will also have to continue to develop. As stated earlier, Sharpe has spent most of his career playing off of the ball. As you would expect, he’s develop a knack for attacking over aggressive close outs. He can get to the rim and finish, pull up for a midrange jumper, or hit a side step or step back three.
In his limited reps as an on ball creator Sharpe has showed the ability to create the same kind of looks. He uses his initial burst and then straight line speed to create separation and then reacts from there. When he’s cut off he almost always goes to a step back, side step, or spin back. While he’s very good at these moves and creates great shots from them, it is a little concerning to not see any of his counter moves taking him toward the basket. It really makes it easier to guard him when you know all you have to do is stop his first move and he won’t attack the rim anymore. It honestly negates his athleticism when he doesn’t attack the rim more ferociously.
I don’t believe this is a lack of skill, but really just something he doesn’t practice. In every clip of him working out all of his moves and counter moves are him side stepping or stepping back. These are great moves, but hopefully his new coaches will teach him some moves to get him to the rim more often.
Despite being an elite athlete, somehow Sharpe isn’t an elite finisher. This is strange to me as typically these two go hand in hand. Don’t get it twisted… Sharpe is still a good finisher, just not an elite one. In transition he uses his speed and burst to get lots of alley oops and dunks in general. In the half court he gets open frequently off the ball on cuts. When he attacks the rim with the ball in his hands it is almost always in straight lines. This goes back to his real lack of being able to use a counter move to attack the rim. There just isn’t really in wiggle on his drives. It’s all straight line drives. He also needs to develop a floater or runner so all of his finishes aren’t dunks and layups. I don’t attribute any of these finishing issues to a lack of skill, but it more just shows how young and raw he is as a prospect.
As far as his passing goes, Sharpe has shown he is more than capable of making simple reads. In his small amount of on ball reps he’s proven to be able to make reads out of the pick and roll. Granted these are all reps from AAU which isn’t particularly known for their high levels of defense. This is still a promising sign. When the game speeds up and there is higher intensity he might struggle, but knowing what reads he needs to make will help him.
As a ball handler Sharpe is still very raw. He loves going between the legs or behind the back to get into his step back and side step moves. His handle can be very lose at times. This is another reason for his lack of pressure put on the rim with his counter moves. If he wants to become a true on ball heliocentric scoring threat he will need to really develop his handle and in turn his bag of moves and countermoves.
Let me start by saying that the Trailblazers did not draft Sharpe to be a great defender. If there was one skill that may never develop then this is the one. Despite being incredibly gifted athletically, Sharpe is not a very good defender due to his lack of interest and effort on that end of the floor. Granted it is high school and AAU where most top recruits aren’t really playing any defense, but it is still a concerning thing to see. If Sharpe decides he wants to be a good defender then the sky is the limit for him due to his physical tools.
Sharpe is an incredibly raw prospect with near limitless potential. He reminds me a lot of a young Kobe Bryant. They have similar games at this age, and I believe if Sharpe puts in the work they could wind up being similar players.
Sharpe has the ability to become an elite scoring threat with a deep bag of moves if he works on his handle and countermoves. He should also be a more than capable defender and passer if he chooses to be.
Even if Sharpe doesn’t develop those skills, he will still be a good NBA player. No matter what you know Sharpe will be a super athletic shooter who can create and hit tough shots.
Ceiling: Kobe Bryant
Floor: Toronto Terrence Ross